Wed, June 26

If it’s only a test, why <br>build water pipeline?

There are at least two good reasons Verde Valley leaders need to go on the offensive in response to plans to build a pipeline and pump water from the Big Chino Basin for Prescott’s domestic water needs.

The first, of course, is because Prescott did not play straight with Valley leaders over its plans to build the pipeline or pump water from the Big Chino, an underground water source many claim serves as the headwaters to the Verde River.

While political leaders from all over the county were pledging a cooperative stance on water use issues — and protection of the Verde — in meetings of the County Water Advisory Committee, Prescott was secretly planning a course of action that was in direct conflict with the goals of the committee.

Now, we’re supposed to "trust" Prescott’s leaders when they tell us they will cease pumping from the Big Chino if there is evidence it will have negative impacts on the flow of the Verde? We’re supposed to believe this is only a "test" to accurately determine the link between the Big Chino aquifer and the flow of the Verde River?

Why, then, is there a plan to build a pipeline to transport the water if this is only a test? Certainly, this is going to be an expensive endeavor. It’s difficult to believe anyone is going to invest that much time, trouble and expense in such a project and then abandon it should the plan prove to be a flop.

The safer bet is that if Prescott does indeed get this pipeline constructed and the subsequent pumping from the Big Chino has negative impacts on the Verde, it will take an act of Congress to stop the flow.

If Prescott succeeds in building this water pipeline, we’ll never see the end of it. It’s too big an investment to be the vehicle for a test.

Valley leaders need to seek either legislative or injunctive relief to stop Prescott’s plans.

Then, let the county water committee complete its job of determining the exact link between the Big Chino and the Verde River.

One thing is for certain, if Prescott succeeds in building this water pipeline, we’ll never be able to turn off the faucet.

— Dan Engler